Dr. Lucia Masarova, a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) specialist and researcher, discusses the latest updates from a recent MPN Congress. Some of the highlights include new learnings in hematopoiesis, JAK inhibitor comparisons, interferon therapy, and the potential for combination treatments in the future.
Dr. Lucia Masarova is an MPN Specialist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Learn more about Dr. Masarova.
Dr. Masarova, you were in New York recently for the MPN congress. Can you share some highlights from that meeting?
Dr. Lucia Masarova:
Yeah. Sure. That was a very interesting and very loaded conference full of experts and great data. I really liked the overall excellent update of all the therapies that currently exist in the MPN space, including polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, myelofibrosis. So, really a broad breadth of JAK inhibitors, their current sequencing, combinations, interferon update. I very much like also the focus of the novel therapies, which actually talked about, for example, the development of the antibody against mutant calreticulin, PIM inhibitors, and a couple others. They are very promising in the space.
There were also very, very relevant clinical data. I think I really, really enjoyed the radiation in hematopoiesis topic. It spurred lots of discussions in the room. And also, fantastic talks about clonal hematopoiesis and its role in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms and cancers.
Overall, very great data on artificial intelligence because that will be a very needed tool, but also a very worrisome tool, at this point, until you learn how to use it to help our patients. But that showed a very promising effect and ability for us to, for example, predict thrombosis risk in polycythemia vera patients or to distinguish patients with ET versus prefibrotic myelofibrosis, which is still subject to lots of basically subjective analysis from hematopathologist.
And also, the poster section was quite striking and really excellent. You could walk around and see so many interesting data. The match and direct comparisons of JAK inhibitors, particularly the latest approved, momelotinib (Ojjaara), as it compared to safety data which do currently exist in fedratinib (Inrebic) or pacritinib (Vonjo).
When it comes to MPN research and emerging treatment options, what are you excited about specifically?
Dr. Lucia Masarova:
There is a lot of excitement in the field currently, and it really depends how we put these patients in, as I would call, boxes, but I don’t like the term. We have these less aggressive diseases, such as polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia.
Where I’m really excited about the role of interferon, with the approval of ropeginterferon (Besremi), or ropeginterferon in United States as well as Europe, we have opened a door for learning how can we do better.
It is approved for polycythemia vera patients. There are currently clinical trials running in essential thrombocythemia patients, within patients with prefibrotic myelofibrosis. That’s an agent that has an ability to go after the disease clone and hopefully, hopefully eradicate or prevent it. Especially, especially exciting in the terms of preventing it for progression.
Then iron metabolize modifier, hepcidin mimetics, other agents impacting this. It’s very important we finally learn how iron plays the role in these patients and how we can actually improve. Very important area in helping patients requiring phlebotomies and hopefully, hopefully altering the whole disease outcome in the long-term.
For myelofibrosis we live in an era of JAK inhibitors. We are so excited to have four currently approved and we’re looking forward to the combinations where we have now safer and less cytopenic agents that have a role in anemia or thrombocytopenia and hopefully will be able to be combined with others.
So, we could even move the field more into other hematologic malignancies, where in myeloma we use five, six, seven, eight drugs. For myelofibrosis, we still have one. So, I think we have still a lot to do.
And then non-JAK inhibitor combination. Non-JAK inhibitor, a compounds or mechanism of action really tailored to the disease pathogenesis. Calreticulin, excellent topic, which I’m saying maybe in couple years we will be really classifying myeloproliferative neoplasm calreticulin-mutated, but also JAK2-mutated, and we will not be calling them one because hopefully we will find a tool to eradicate calreticulin and to really be able to offer ultimate – what I call ultimate cure.
So, that’ll be something really exciting to come and all of these investigators in MPN fields are so eager to see what – whether the preclinical data we have seen are going to stand in our patients. And that would be really fantastic.